Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

and mythology, as well as of the knowledge of the Bible, he was solicited by serious intelligent persons in both hemispheres, to render some justice to the Bible, by correcting the absurdities of the translations into the modern languages, and rendering the sense plain, in the shortest, clearest manner, (without a confu. sion of words and repetitions as in the translations,) so as to be understood by every ordinary capacity without the aid of comments, which interrupt the reading, to seek the sense in them, and also distract with different opinions; and most people cannot spare the expense and time they require, nor can any have them always at hand, though scarce any chapter could be wholly understood without them; but they may still be useful like other expositions. He knew the public ingratitude by experience, and the cavilling spirit of many, and their aversion to use what is for their good; and the policy of the trade, see Boswell's Life of Johnson; but that he might not neglect employing a talent, or be reflected on for so doing, he resolved to go on if any aid could be found, though he should sink under the weight of the work, which was almost the case, oftener than once, and lost also above £100; therefore he pitched on the very learned, ingenious Myers Fisher, Esq. to complete it, if he did not survive, with the inspection of the excellent primitive Bishop White, and Dr. Rush, also eminent for genius, learning, piety, and taste. It has been revised by the most learned and judicious in the colleges and churches, in different countries, upwards of twenty years; and has been countenanced by several of the most eminent Physicians in the colleges and cities, as Dr. Rush, P. M. who purposes to publish Medical Commentaries on the Diseases mentioned in the Scripture, (a new and extraordinary work, quite different from Dr. Mede's Medica Sacra,) and which sets many scriptures in a new and striking light, concurring with the plan of this work, in clearing the Bible of the absurdities and obscuri. ties of modern translations by this interpretation, which has already reconciled many deists to the Bible, and is remarked by the most judicious observers to be acceptable to all the sensible readers. The illustrious Drs. Flint, P. M. Bailey, Birkbeck, &c. and a number of other Laics also countenanced it, as W. Wilberforce, M.P.J. Spalding, M. P.J. Maitland, M.P. A. Maitland, A. Tilloch, A. M'Arthur, R. Kennedy, A. Stocks, J. Bell, and J. Esdale, Esqrs. the two last ingenious Hebreans, Dr. Cumin and Dr. Gibb, Professors of Eastern Languages, Mr. Watson, who having read all Henry's Commentary, valued this version more than it all, as the principal key to the sense of the Bible, those having notes on some verses, are chiefly copied from Henry. And also some public spirited Ecclesiastics, who wish the Laics to get the full knowledge of the Bible, as the very learned and honourable Bishop Barrington, the most learned Bishop Horsley, author of the most ingenious, learned, laborious, judi

cious, and accurate works on Hosea, &c. &c. approved of this translation, and the Philosophical Commentary, and encouraged the author to proceed; and the very learned orientalists, Drs. Munro, Bathy, and Mr. Dun, who after having examined the translation, recommended it from the pulpit, and Mr. Wood, who recommended it to be read in all families, that they may understand the Bible,' and thereby be instructed, they did so, as they could not give an account at last, if they had neglected so important a duty to the people. It will likely be soon read in some congregations for the same reason, as it is read in families, both by ecclesiastics and laics of different denominations in different countries. The illustrious Drs. Ritchie, S. T. P. Lamont, and Messrs. Williamson, Kidston, Graham, Leitch, Robe, Black, &c. discovered also a very excellent public spirit, with vigorous exertions to propagate it, like the Drs. Garthshore and Lettsom, and the Apostolic J. Pemberton, Esq. who greatly delighted in doing good, also G. Miller, A. Buchanan, C. and J. Campbell, Esqrs. N. B. The cavillers names, with their cavils, will be inserted afterwards, to perpetuate their memories for their malice, envy, and folly, as enemies to the usefulness of the Bible, and the good of mankind, whether clergy or laity, (2 Tim. iv. 1416.) like Erostratus who burnt the temple of Ephesus, A. c. 356, to perpetuate his memory by a bad action, as he could not do it by a good one; some of them have executed the just punishment on themselves. It is nothing but vanity and folly, or prejudice in any to presume to cavil at what the most learned and judicious have sanctioned. It is entirely unreasonable to be un. willing to have stumbling-blocks removed, and yet to be offend. ed at people for stumbling at them. It is either the prejudice of education, or being unwilling to let the unlearned know the Bible well, that makes any say the common translation is good, contradicting the greatest authorities.

It is surprising that some, both learned and unlearned, cavil at some things in one of the most learned, laborious, judicious, and accurate works that ever was published, viz. Bishop Louth's Isaiah; wherein he examined the original so accurately, and the various readings, critics, and interpreters, with their concurrent reasons to determine hind. After the author had done the like, he would not venture to alter any thing, without going over the same works again; and he regards it as great presumption in any, to cavil merely from examining the original of one, or even a few copies, and more so without knowing the original. Jerome, the most learned of the fathers, and the only one quali. fied for the task, was called innovator and forger; which calumnies be rather chose to bear, than be wanting to his duty; and his version was so much valued afterwards, that it was translated into other languages.

Great delicacy of expression is used. The former versions, made for ages of a less refined taste, disgust greatly by uncouth expressions, and do more hurt than good to the unprincipled minds of youth, &c. by causing aversion to the Bible, as these are readiest to catch their attention. The Jews, tho' naturally accustomed to castern allegories and mysteries, and therefore familiarly acquainted with their import, did not allow their youths to read some parts of Scripture till they were thirty years old. R. Moses Ben Maimon remarks, that there is not a gross profane word in the Hebrew, and every Grecian knows, that Bukolos conveys not the coarse idea which the English terın for it does. The author was led into the riglit way of translating with an ambassaclor abroad; who knowing both languages, required the translation to be as proper language and sense as the original, expressing the sense and force of it, and not as how do ve do, or how do ye carry yourself, or how stands your worship, &c. &c. &c. i. c. are ye in health; and behoved not to represent the language and authors of his country as absurd and senseless, by a literal translation, as the Bible translators have so often done. It is observed, that deistical infidels, or avowed enemies of any kind, could scarcely have done more injury or disgrace to it; and hence, the absurdities of the translations are ascribed by infidels to the Scriptures. Bishop Louth's plan bound him down to a verbal rendering, but nothing could bind a man of his good sense and great judgment, to give an unintelligible or absurd translation, or leave a blank in it, and make bis author do so, and thus ridiculously disgrace both; to avoid which, he owns he was under a necessity to depart some times from his plan, and all others have done the like. · The Bible, and every other book, either has sense or it has none. If it has sense, why was it not given? If it has none, why are words without sense translated? The pure word of God, or the divine oracles, ljes not in the words, but in the sense; see the following examples. The pretence is groundless, that the only way to know if it is rightly translated, is to have only the words transa lated; for the meaning of a word, on which the sense of the place depends, is as often mistaken as that of the subject. The author paid the first attention to the words, and endeavoured to keep close to the sense, and also to the words, where they could be rendered literally, according to the sense. All that he has seen, have used more liberty often, and are inconsistent in not doing so always, as all expositors do, if it be wrong to take the liberty to understand the sense of any useful book, and to shew it to others, without which it is in a great measure useless; they have interpreted Psalm xx. S. reduce thy burnt-offering to ashes, and Isaiah v. 1. a vineyard on a born, the son of oil, &c.; but not Deut. xxxiii. 12. the Lord shall dwell between Benjamin's shoulders; and Rom. iü. 7. if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie to his glory:nor Dout. xxiii. 1. and Solomon's Song, &c. A groundless distinction is made between the translator and commentator, by monopolizers; the first is to do a work comparatively useless, without the other. The very learned judicious author of the Essay for a New Translation, published much above a hundred years ago, observes, that “the translators either wanted ability or integrity, as they often, like school boys, translate the words without the sense, rendering ancient allegories literally, and making blasphemous barbarous nonsense. The idiom of every language is a barbarian to every other: they are so different, that the figures of words and speech which are decent and make sense in one, if rendered literally, are indecent, and make no sense in another, but ridiculous and barbarous, and even blasphemous absurdities, which have caused infidelity and licentiousness; furnished hardened sinners and hypocrites with excuses; libertines and atheists with matter of jesting and ridicule; enthusiasts or fanatics with superstitious and foolish fancies; thrown the weak into despair; and confirmed sceptics by seeming contradictions;" and this is too often the case, as said author sbews, by abundance of examples out of almost all the books and chapters of the Bible. Bishop Louth on Isaiah, Dr. Blayney on Jeremiah, who calls the translation an unknown tongue in English terms, so that it cannot be profitable for instruction, as St. Paul says it ought to be, and adds, is it no crime to keep the sense from the people? Bishop Newcome, on Ezekiel and the lesser Prophets, were anxious for an improved translation; and wished that some private person of ability would do it, as it was not set about by public appointment. The latter's view of the former ones shews the necessity thereof; yet some persons and sects think King James' one perfect, and so are violent against others. They also think the Hebrew, &c. Dictionaries, as Parkhurst's, have all the senses of the words in every place; but they have not all the figurative ones, as in Galiii. 8. where the Spirit denotes the gospel; nor is their first sense always the chief one. Though it is unjust to condemn one upon another's misrepresentation of his meaning, yet the Deists, &c. often do so. Dr. Watts' made a collection of the clearest parts of it for schools, but that contains still such a mixture of obscurities, that the Bible is not read, but youths are bred ignorant of it as Pagans, in schools of taste, that use no books but what are understood; though there is no book, or history, real or romantic, so entertaining and instructive as the Bible, or that has so great a variety. The reader of the revised translation and interpretation by itself, is referred to the Philosophical Commentary, for the reasons of differing from the translators. The improper division of the books into chapters and verses, which was made in the 12th and 16th centuries, has occasioned other divisions; one of these is used in Solomon's Song, and the liturgical division of the Psalms, with some other differences marked; holocaust is used for whole burnt-offering; eucharistic sacrifice, for peace-offering; calends for the first of the month; the Hebrew Cush, for Ethiopia in the common version; Ben, for son, as Shem, Ben-Noah, for Noah's son, &c. As mangling creatures, depriving them of ears, tails, or sexual parts, &c. was severely prohibited by the law of their Creator, bull or bullock is inserted for ox; beeve, for heifer, beeves, for a flock of both sexes, Lev, xxii. 24. not cows or kine, When he had occasion to read any of the Bible to others, he read the sense, or interpreted what was no better than an unknown tongue, though in English terms, and passed over what was suitable to be read only in private, which is here inclosed thus-[]. Supplements are inclosed thus-(). Nothing should be read at worship but serious instruction or devotion. It was intended to render every thing clear and plain to the common sense of such as have not known the Bible, nor its phraseology, and to give beautiful striking figures, as allegories, parables, &c. complete in their own style, and to insert or add the sense, though it increase the size of the work. No book that he knows is translated like the Bible; if any were so translated, they would not be read, but be reckoned in a great measure useless, except by those enthusiasts and mystics, who admire only what is so dark and confused, that they cannot understand it, and envy to others what they like

not.

The authenticity of the sacred books was settled by public authority of the national council, senate, or sanhedrim, instituted, Exod. xviii. 21, &c. consisting of the elders and prophets, and the high priest, when requisite, &c. (being seventy-two, whereof twenty-five or twenty-one made a council for the time and case); they made such explications, and additions or supplements, &c, as were requisite for the time; hence such as are ignorant thereof, think the books themselves were written as late as these were inserted, though many hundred years distant; for Malachi is above a thousand distant from Moses the first writer, who began writing at Sinai. If the books had been published by the private authority of their authors only, some think it is not likely that they would have recorded their own faults, nor their properties, Num. xii. 3. unless obliged for their vindication, like Paul; but they seem to be as impartial to themselves as others. The Chronicles, or daily records during the reigns of the Kings, were at least" partly carrying on during their reigns, particularly after the division of the kingdom, and finished by Ezra after the captivity. They were obliged to keep personal, family, and public records, for recovering their lost privileges or properties, at the sabbatical years and jubilees, when liberties, inberitances, and all things lost or forfeited, were recovered, redeemed, or restored, as at their first settlement in the land. All wrote genealogies of families and tribes. The prophets, &c. wrote the history of the times, and national records, without inspiration, to which references are made, as also to

« FöregåendeFortsätt »